I know that I’m not alone when I say that I have a difficult time appreciating my body. I know that many of my fellow editors have said the same thing several times. I know that many people reading this have probably said the same thing at some point in their lives. Although, while I may not be alone in the self-love struggle, I can’t help but feel that my situation is somewhat unique.
I’ve always been an incredibly athletic person. I started dancing at age 2 and played competitive sports until I went to college. Now I work out five to six days a week, partially because it’s a habit and partially because it helps me to feel less anxious. It makes me sad that, as someone who has made physical fitness the center of their life for over two decades, I’m not happier with my body. No matter how much weight I lift or how many vegetables I eat, I constantly look at myself in the mirror and feel disappointment. I tell myself that my thighs should be thinner or that my stomach should be flatter, but at the end of the day, I am incredibly fortunate to have a healthy body that shows up for me every day. I’m at a point in my life where I’m willing to try anything to help me feel happier with my body, and believe it or not, activewear has helped me to achieve that.
I know it sounds crazy that clothing helped me to love and accept my body, but hear me out. If you have muscles and curves, which I do, regular clothes aren’t always so good to you. However, activewear is different. Brands and designers spend countless hours laboring over small details that help you to perform and look your best in their clothing. While I know this may seem silly to some, I have to admit it’s made a world of difference for me. I take comfort in knowing that as soon as I slip into a great pair of leggings, my thighs and glutes will be perfectly hugged and I can lunge, Spin, or squat with ease. There’s something about this style of clothing that really helps me feel like my best self. In case you’re wondering what I look for in a piece of activewear or which sets make me feel happy, I'm here to help. I took advantage of a ClassPass free trial and put a few aesthetically pleasing activewear sets to the ultimate test. Keep scrolling and you’ll see the seven activewear sets that make me feel most confident.
How it makes me feel: I love Sweaty Betty. All of its pieces are incredibly flattering, and they make me feel 10 times better about my body. I would live in the brand's clothing if I could.
How it performs: I wore this for an intense strength-training session and was seriously impressed. No matter how much my body moved, these leggings and this top did not. Everything stayed secure, and the best part is they wick sweat incredibly well.
How it makes me feel: I usually don't feel as confident in strappy sports bras or leggings with designs, but this one's different. This design really makes my legs look longer (I'm only 5'5", so I'll take all the help I can get), and the top makes me feel strong and secure.
How it performs: I wore this set to a Spin class and was so happy with how it fared. The leggings made it through tap-backs and sprints, and the top didn't need to be readjusted at all.
How it makes me feel: This is my ideal activewear set. Nothing makes me feel happier and more confident than a full-coverage sports bra and high-waisted leggings that have fun features like colored panels and breathable mesh.
How it performs: I wore this set to a hot yoga class and was really surprised by how much I liked it. You know a set is good when the moisture-wicking properties hold up in 100° heat.
How it makes me feel: This set is pure magic. I had never tried the brand Lndr before, but I'm officially a fan. The pieces compress my body to reveal an incredibly flattering fit. Everyone should own something that makes them feel this confident.
How it performs: I tested this set during a yoga sculpt class and was so pleased with the results. My body felt fully supported and the waistband on the leggings didn't move at all.
How it makes me feel: These are some of my favorite leggings of all time. They make me feel skinny and strong. They're super slimming and comfortable. The matching top makes me feel happy and supported. I love wearing this set.
How it performs: I could tell you about how great these pieces are and how they were able to withstand a Barry's Bootcamp class without any issues. Or I could tell you the real miracle, which is that no matter how sweaty you get, these will glide off your body when you're ready to take them off. No sticky sports-bra-removal ritual.
How it makes me feel: I love that this top is a little bit longer. It covers my stomach, which makes me happy, and the leggings perfectly cinch my waist. Honestly, what more can you ask for in a workout set?
How it performs: I wore this set for a Spin class and was so pleased with the result. The leggings stayed up no matter how much I moved, and the top kept my chest secure during tap-backs and isolations.
How it makes me feel: If my house were on fire and I could only grab one activewear set, I'd grab this one. Every time I wear a Varley piece, I feel like it's specifically made for my body, and that brings me such joy. All of the brand's clothes are flattering, and it uses incredible technology so that each piece can survive your sweatiest workouts. It's a win-win.
How it performs: I had a really sweaty workout on the day I tried this set, but if you didn't look at my face, you wouldn't know it. It wicked sweat perfectly and allowed me to move, twist, and glide with ease. I have zero complaints.
Looking for more athleisure pieces to add to your workout wardrobe? You can't go wrong with these sweat-wicking leggings.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions. See our full health disclaimer here.